UPDATE: The Delhi, Louisiana charter school that forced girls suspected of being pregnant to take pregnancy tests has reversed their policy after receiving backlash from the ACLU and women's rights groups. Administrators at the school in northeast Louisiana said they did not know there was anything wrong with the policy until the ACLU stepped in, the Associated Press reports. The school starts classes next Wednesday.
A charter school in Delhi, Louisiana, does not want pregnant students inside their classroom walls. For the last six years, the school has adhered to a policy requiring female students suspected of being pregnant to take a pregnancy test. After the test, the school "reserves the right to refer the suspected student to a doctor of its choice."
If you think it can't get any worse, you're wrong:
If that girl is in fact pregnant, she will not be allowed to return to school and will have to continue her education at home.
Here's another kicker:
If a student is suspected of being pregnant and refuses the test, she will be "treated as a pregnant student and will be offered home study opportunities."
The ACLU of Louisiana has taken up this case and on Monday, they sent a letter to the administration of Delhi Charter School. Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana, stated in the letter, "The pregnancy policy violates the rights of every girl at Delhi Charter School. Every girl is at risk of being subject to intrusive medical testing, and possibly forced out of school, for reasons that have nothing to do with her education."
The Student Pregnancy Policy, according to the ACLU, violates:
• Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulations because it excludes students from educational programs and activities on the basis of sex.
• The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, because it treats female students differently than male students and because it relies on impermissible sex stereotypes.
• The right to procreate, and to decide whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy.
• The Due Process Clause of the Constitution by imposing the presumption that pregnant students are unable to continue to attend classes.
Esman tells TakePart that the policy blatanly "denies girls an equal right to an education" and "discriminates against girls simply because they are girls."
According to the ACLU, "approximately 70 percent of teenage girls who give birth leave school, and, evidence suggests that illegal discrimination is a major contributing factor to this high dropout rate."
Esman adds that the policy "treats pregnancy as if it is some sort of communicable disease. That girls can't go to school when they are perfectly capable of going to school."
On Tuesday, lawyers for the school sent a letter to the ACLU stating they are reviewing the policy. Delhi Charter School principal Chris Broussard said in a statement, according to CNN, that "there have never been any complaints from students or parents about the school's policy; however, in light of the recent inquiry, the current policy has been forwarded to the law firm of Davenport, Files & Kelly in Monroe, Louisiana, to ensure that necessary revisions are made so that our school is in full compliance with the constitutional law."
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Jenny is the Education Editor at TakePart. She has been writing for TakePart since 2009 and previously worked in film and television development. She has taught English in Vietnam and tutors homeless children in Los Angeles. Email Jenny | @jennyinglee | TakePart.com